The Chinese
mainland is expected to record 21.6 million outbound tourists in the
first half of 2008 with a year-on-year increase of 12.4 percent,
according to a report issued by MasterCard Worldwide.

China Youth Daily quoted the report as saying that the Chinese mainland
will lead the whole Asian-Pacific outbound travel market in the first
six months this year.

to the latest MasterCard Worldwide Index of Travel (MWIT),
Asian-Pacific outbound markets will continue to be buoyant with more
individual and business journeys in the first half of 2008 despite the
economic uncertainty in the global financial market.

market will see 79.5 million outbound tourists in the next six months,
with over one quarter from the Chinese mainland, the report said.

It attributed the booming outbound travel market to the increasing number of middle-class Chinese.

number of China’s middle-class families would rise to 100 million in
2016 from 35 million in 2006 in such metropolises as Beijing, Shanghai
and Guangzhou, it said.

combined with the availability of low cost travel options, means
Chinese travelers form a very influential group which is expected to
continue to significantly shape trends in the travel business in 2008
and in years to come," said Dr. Hedrick Wong, economic advisor to
MasterCard Worldwide in Asia Pacific.

China’s Ministry of Tourism said early January that it recorded 40.95 million outbound tourists last year.

The country is undergoing its biggest festival season, the seven-day Spring Festival holidays.

joint on-line survey by market information provider Nielson and, a domestic tourism website, said that about 60 percent of
Chinese netizens whose family monthly income tops 8,000 yuan (1,095
U.S. dollars) plan to go traveling during the Spring Festival and 11
percent of them want to travel abroad.

MasterCard, one
of the world largest credit bodies, issues the report twice a year with
surveys on individual and business travel in 13 markets in Asia Pacific.

Via China Daily